Vancouver island students come together to solve real world problems and complete for a $10,000 scholarship

The awards gala hosted in the Farquhar Auditorium

In autumn of 2021, Westmont Montessori School (Westmont) in partnership with the University of Victoria launched a competition to drive engagement around 5 key issues that our society is facing. The issues: Toxic Drug Crisis, Affordable Housing on Vancouver Island, Old Growth Logging, Living Wage, and Climate Change. These topics are prominent issues that affect our lives and will affect the lives of these students as they are the leaders of the future.

72 students came together in teams of four to choose and propose solutions for one of these issues. Students were able to pick any of these 5 sustainability issues; coming into the competition, students were not expected to know everything about their topic choice; thus Westmont arranged for topic experts to provide information sessions as a starting point for students. On November 19th, Westmont School hosted a powerful all-day workshop to teach and guide students in solving these major topics. This workshop showed learners how to dive deeper in understanding their problem of choice and create sustainable solutions that can be enacted by teens. There were problem and solution frameworks provided along with presentations by expert speakers who taught the students how to give a compelling pitch and create a great video.

The following weekend, Westmont School hosted the results in an awards gala style. Each student team was given feedback from one of the guest judges, and summary videos were shown to give the audience an idea of the solution each team proposed.

The top three teams received prizes for their excellent solutions; the third pace team received IMAX passes, second place team members were given season passes to any Wildplay Elements Park locations across B.C., and MP Elizabeth May presented the winning team with a shared $10,000 scholarship to a university of their choice. Overall, this event was a success in driving student engagement around real world issues; students learned that even though they are teens, it is possible to make a difference.

The winning team receiving a shared $10,000 scholarship